Olympic Green

Olympic Green

I’ve recently come across a few articles about the green initiative of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and I have to admit I’m pleasantly pleased with their sustainable efforts. I can’t say that I’ve been paying 100% attention to the games this year, but this is the first I’ve heard about it. I wish that the media would take a time out to report on some of the good the city has been doing, rather than point out what has gone wrong thus far. The sustainable initiative was actually instituted by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) back in 1992, to encourage active participation in sustainable development. Only in the last 10 years has it started to be wholly embraced by the host cities, and this year Vancouver has gone above and beyond in doing their part. Although I am listing a brief synopsis of their efforts, this list is by no way complete, yet still very impressive… • The pledge from Vancouver to convene a carbon-neutral event • Utilization of existing facility buildings wherever possible, and designing the new facilities for realistic and simple conversion for post-game reuse • Planning a dense village design to promote walk ability rather than individual transportation • Construction of LEED Platinum and Gold certified buildings in the village • Implementation of urban agriculture and green roofs • The roof structure of the Oval Building was built from trees that were killed by pine beetles – great reclamation, plus the elimination of carbon dioxide and methane gasses from the potential rotting wood • Recovery of waste heat from melting ice and sewer systems to produce space heating and cooling • Reclamation of building and vehicle graphics – approximately 200,000 square feet of material will be diverted from landfills and be recycled into new flooring product • Reuse of the village after the games as affordable housing for the local workforce The impact of some of these efforts won’t be able to be measured for a few years to come, but Vancouver has a plan to actively monitor and publish their results. I think they’ve done an excellent job in raising both awareness and the bar for future cities to come. It’s amazing to me how far this world has come with sustainability in the past 10 years; where being green just used to mean planting trees and recycling, and now is seen as the consideration for global social, economic and environmental impact. Whether or not Canada wins the gold for hockey, the city of Vancouver gets the GREEN … I mean gold medal in my book. Submitted by: Suzanne Mayberry Photo from: Vancouver Sun, Doug Pensinger, Getty Images

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